A touch of class in Middlesbrough accents | Brief letters

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We arrived back at Heathrow from New Zealand last week, on flights from Auckland. We exited the airport with no checks or testing. Can someone please explain how this reduces the spread of Covid-19? All arrivals in New Zealand are quarantined in hotels for 14 days at the government’s expense. What price Mr Hancock’s 100,000 tests at the end of April?
Martin Hesse
London

o In the West Midlands, as elsewhere (Country diary, 20 April), the volume of the birdsong is so much more noticeable lately. Here, in fact, it is sometimes possible to discern what they are saying. I heard one robin this morning evoking its ancient saurian ancestry and saying to the world: “We’re nearly there. See what a mess the humans have made of it all. Time for us to take back control.”
Nigel Gann
Lichfield, Staffordshire

o Val Hart (Letters, 16 April) must surely acknowledge that for the actual pronunciation of the name “Middlesbrough”, class is a guide to quite a large extent. When I was a near-neighbour of the town, many years ago, it went like this – upper class: “Middlesborrow”; middle class: “Middlesborroh”; working class: “Middlesberreh”.
Jonathan Hauxwell
Crosshills, North Yorkshire

o I see that the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, wants to “make sure the children are sat around learning” (Report, 19 April). Presumably this will not include English grammar.
Lewis Rudd
Twyford, Winchester

o The government is fond of using war metaphors regarding its handling of the coronavirus crisis. How about “lions led by donkeys”?
Graham Walsh
Wymondham, Norfolk

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